Author Archive for DK Simoneau

Announcing the new paperback version!!

We have been anxiously awaiting the paperback version and it is finally here!  Now you can get one for everyone! Get it on Amazon now! Go to 


Something to be Happy About! Purple Santa Suit Free Kindle Book!

Download Purple Santa Suit Free Kindle Book November 24-26, 2016

Purple Santa Suit Free Kindle Book November 24-26, 2016

Something to be Happy About! Purple Santa Suit Free Kindle Book.  Yes. Well it seems that interesting times are upon us.  No doubt we are living in a time where it seems we look at what is wrong in the world instead of what is right. Yet there are lots of things that indeed still go right. Every day we still move forward and find more things that will bring us that smile. We get to spend the holidays with people we love.

All things considered, this may be the year where we need to get back to basics and focus on the little things that make us happy. I hope we find ourselves back in the kitchen creating amazing foods to nourish us and to tantalize our taste buds. It is such a wonderful way to connect to each other. And I hope we find time to snuggle up with someone in our life that makes us happy. And maybe we take a little extra time to stop and read out loud to a child, or even a grown up, in our life. We hope that this might be a little something to be happy about.

So……….if you need a little something colorful in your life, maybe something that will make you giggle inside.  Perhaps you need something that will for sure bring a smile to a child or even a room full of grownups. If so, then check out Santa’s (Zany, Wacky, Just Not Right!) Night Before Christmas. It will be the delight of your holiday white elephant gift exchange, or Christmas Eve party, or any day along the way between now and then. And if you just aren’t sure, we are doing a FREE Kindle book give away over Thanksgiving, November 24-26, 2016. You will be able to download if for free before you splurge on the hard copy. (We think you will!) Find out just what the Purple Santa Suit Free Kindle Book is all about. Happy Holidays to you.

Other Ideas:

Check out our past posts on ideas on how to spend your holiday season.  We have great ideas for a December bucket list., and ways to use the book in the classroom. We also have fun ideas of how to make cookies that go along with the book for some extra dose of HAPPY!  Again, check out the FREE Kindle book or just take the splurge and enjoy!


Purple Santa in the classroom

We want to see how you use our Purple Santa in the classroom.  Got Purple Santa? To help you out, Santa’s (Zany, Wacky, Just Not Right!) Night Before Christmas has been Free all weekend on the Kindle.  Today is the last day! Download it. Read it. Get some ideas. If you love it and think you can come up with ideas, buy a hard copy to share in the class, or check one out at the library. (Many have it, but if not you can request they order it for their collection.) We think it is a great book to explore many many ideas with reading, imagination, vocabulary, art, writing and so much more. And we want to hear your ideas!  We want to hear the best idea.   See our classroom page for ideas. And we are reposting a blog from last year for further inspiration below. Send us your ideas. We would love to post pics of how you used it! Fun holiday book! Got Purple Santa?#GotPurpleSanta #BlackFridayin3words

Encore Blog:

Reading Santa’s Night Before Christmas for classroom enrichment activities is so much fun! We have lots of ways to spark the imagination with this book by encouraging creativity in art, writing, and oral expression! –At home, or in a read aloud classroom or library setting!  Please see our classroom page here for a growing list of ideas of how to enrich your classrooms with our book.

Meanwhile here are a few thoughts:

  • After reading the book and finding out that there is no longer Milk and Cookies, but instead Tea and Honey, introduce a Tea and Honey Party. It can be as formal or as informal as you like. Bring a variety of teas, maybe some more traditional and a couple of holiday blends, along with some honey. Then expose kids to traditions and tastes of other cultures of which they may be unfamiliar.One book- oodles of classroom actvities.
  • Initiate a Christmas Caroling activity. After reading the book and talking about funny sounding carolers, discuss the practice of Christmas Caroling. Choose some songs. Make them funny if you wish. Go around to other classrooms and sing carols.
  • In a group setting following a read aloud there are many topics of discussion that could be focused upon in verbal format and then flowed into a writing assignment if desired. (Most of these could also be presented in front of the class as well.)
    • What details are in the drawings that that aren’t mentioned in the story? (Hint- hunt for Matches the Mouse!!)
      What other zany and wacky things that could go wrong with Christmas if Santa’s suit were purple?
      What other things could have happened instead? Like could the milk and cookies be turned into carrots and celery? Why or why not? Could the candy canes be chocolate or sour instead of burnt? Would it have been a problem to change the story because of the rhyming?
      Launch for a theme of show and tell – bringing in their favorite holiday book, other books with Santa, or anything else related.
      Talk about cause and effect – consequences; how things relate, how this one change morphed Christmas, and how doing one thing differently day to day might have different effects in our own lives.
      Read the original The Night Before Christmas story (or any other version) and have a compare and contrast discussion
  • Art Projects galore! Have them do an art project of any kind to illustrate any idea of a zany, wacky Christmas. Use your own zany imagination-this book can spark all kinds of artistic expression and creativity.Choose your own color santa suit- Milk Carton Santas. One of many ways to tie Santa's Zany Wacky Just Not Right Night Before Christmas into classroom activities.
    • Santas with suits of a different color. Almost any normal Santa project you do can be converted into a purple  Or better yet, you could let the kids express themselves and let them choose what color they want their Santa to be.
    • Similarly, blueberry blue reindeer might be fun! Or let them choose their own fun color.
    • Upside down snowmen and trees of all kinds. Any project you might normally do with snowmen or trees could be done upside down. One I like is the Name Snowmen. Just put the face and hat one on the bottom upside down.
    • Art and Writing worksheets, like “If I were a Zany Wacky Reindeer, I would…” Download: Zany wacky reindeer worksheet.  Please see the classroom page for more ideas; as well as that is where we will be posting new ones.Worksheet to go with Santa's Zany Wacky Just Not Right Night Before Christmas available hardback, kindle or via Interactive Touchbooks app.

December Bucket List: Got Purple Santa?

December Bucket List IdeasHmmm. December bucket list? Got Purple Santa? Just a reminder that this weekend it is FREE to download on Kindle. Or if you want to skip that and order, we like that too. 😉 You can do that here. So check it out and see if you want to add some of our activities to your December Bucket List once you get the hard copy version. Meanwhile I decided to get busy with my own December Bucket List! Should I really do it this time? Make a purple tree?December Bucket List purple-tree

I decided this year to get a head start on my December Bucket List.  I was kind of late last year not thinking about it until December was half way over.  But this year I am sitting in a warmer than what I find appropriate climate for November and I am dreaming of December activities.  Before I get too far- Let me say that number one on my list is of course to read A December Bucket List. I suppose that goes without saying. So I’m ready to get to it.  Some are repeats. Some are new hopeful ideas. I hope you enjoy!

1)Find a great new holiday read aloud. I know Mariah Carey has one. And there is a new Eloise one. I’m sure there is something waiting for me to find it, but I’m determined to find it.  For me Santa’s Night Before Christmas (Zany, Wacky, Just Not Right!) was new last year, but if it is new to you it is free this weekend on Kindle I still love the original Night Before Christmas and Snowmen at Night! I can’t wait to find a new one!
2)Make Christmas Pajama pants for everyone to have on Christmas Eve. I don’t know if I will get there but I found a great post that might lead to a short cut! Check it out!December bucket list: Making pajama pants


3)String cranberries and popcorn for the tree.  This always puts such magic on our tree. And the chatter as we do it is so much fun!  It’s like baking cookies but without feeling guilty for eating all the dough! Just buy fresh cranberries, pop the popcorn the old fashioned way on the stove, get needle and thread and away you go.

4)Make a silly family Christmas card. December Bucket List: This year I'm making a fun family Christmas Card. Sending Christmas cards is such a hassle. But I really want to work on sending one out and making it fun! I wonder if I can get as creative as these folks?

5)Have a cookie exchange! December Bucket List: Host a cookie exchangeI’m getting started early and I’ve done it before.  Wouldn’t it be fun to bring SANTA’S JUST NOT RIGHT CHRISTMAS COOKIES.  Need I say more?  Baking is on most everyone’s December Bucket list! And having a cookie exchange is such an easy short cut. Yum and fun!  Every year we love to bake cookies, but of course I will have to bake the special ones that were created just for us. Recipe here! And won’t it be fun to serve grown up milk?December Bucket List: Santa's Just Not Right Christmas Cookies

6)Go sledding.  December Bucket List: Go SleddingOr on a sleigh or hay ride. Or horse and carriage ride.  Whatever the vehicle, it is always a special night out! What December Bucket list treat!

7)Have a Santa party.  We used to do this when the kids were little.  We had a very special Santa who would stop by.  Every parent would secretly leave a wrapped gift with their child’s name on it on our front porch.  Then a little bit into the evening Santa would arrive, gather the presents, put them in his bag, and then come inside and deliver them.  It was such delight to see the kids light up when Santa came with something they wanted and delivered it in person.  I need to do this again soon!

8)Make a Gingerbread house.  Darn it.  I’ve not done this one STILL.  Oh how I want to try!

9) Have a popcorn party and serve hot cocoa from scratch for either a Christmas book reading night, or movie night. (check out December Bucket List: Make pink popcorn to go along with all the other zany ideas in our book Santa's Night Before Christmas (Zany, Wacky, Just Not Right!)this yummy pink popcorn which will go perfectly with the zany upside down antics of Santa’s Night Before Christmas….) Pink Popcorn December Bucket List: Have a popcorn partyOf course there isn’t much better than fresh regular popcorn popped in oil drizzled in fresh butter and salt right on the stove either.  And I’ve been making popcorn cakes for years, but I may have to all of try these on for size this year. December Bucket List: Have a popcorn partyIn my opinion Emeril’s popcorn cake is the best. This is the one I like to make.

December Bucket List: Have a bring your toppings pizza party10)Have a bring your own toppings pizza party.  I want to have a pizza party and serve cool holiday pizzas! I’ve seen snowmen and trees. Maybe we can watch the “old” Peanuts specials! I could invite folks and I can provide the crust and they can bring the toppings! How hard can it be?

11)Build a snowman.  I saw one already this year and I was jealous! Maybe I can finally build an upside down one, like in the book. Santa’s Night Before Christmas (Zany, Wacky, Just Not Right!) December Bucket List: Build a snowman

12)Drive around and look at Christmas Lights! This goes on every year! With the internet and  mapping so easy at our fingertips, we can look them up and really go find the great ones!  Maybe there is an app for that!?!? I’m thinking of making it into a game.  Maybe tied in with the scavenger hunt idea below.

13)Christmas Scavenger Hunt– I have been determined to do this for years.  It’s something we used to do often as kids. December Bucket List: Go on a scavenger huntThere are lots of places to find lists and riddles on the internet.  So many ways to do it, easy or really complicated. Can’t wait to try this one out!  Here is an easy one I liked. There are ones you can incorporate with the light watching and more and more. Sounds so much fun!

14)Hang Mistletoe– I’ve never done it.  But I really want to this year.December Bucket List: Hang Mistletoe

15) Set an amazing Christmas table. I am no Martha Stewart. And it may use paper plates. But just once I’d like to do something a little over the top. I love this idea I found of folding the napkins into trees. Festive! I found it here.December Bucket List: Set an amazing Christmas Table

17) Make ornaments and decorate a tree– and enjoy it!  Do I really need to put it on the December Bucket list? No, but somehow over the years this has turned into a chore instead of something to be enjoyed.  I said this one last year, but I think it might need to be said again. I want to get back to making it a festive afternoon or evening. Maybe starting with going to pick out the tree together as a family!

18)Take a special family photo– This is different than the card. This is for our own documentation. Christmas is a great time to document the years as they go by.  Maybe do something extra special each year, or maybe record it the same.  Just make sure you do it!

19)Start a new holiday tradition. Years ago we started making cinnamon rolls on Christmas Eve so they would be ready on Christmas morning. December Bucket List: Start a new tradition like making homemade cinnamon rollsFor other ideas see my blog post on that. But I assure you your family will remember. So I’m looking for a new one, but if you want to try the cinnamon rolls this looks promising. It’s a knock off of Cinnabon, and who doesn’t like those?

20)Make homemade simmering potpourri- December Bucket List: Make Simmering PotpourriI love candles, but since I’m starting earlier this year wouldn’t it be nice to try something fresh and not artificial?  Google and I are going to have a date.

Whew! That’s a lot to tackle.  I’m glad I got started earlier this year! What are you going to do?

I reserve the right to expand this December Bucket List……….and it may take me some years to get to them all, but I am so excited to start trying, AGAIN!

Don’t forget if you want to discover our purple Santa, this weekend is FREE on Kindle.


Purple Christmas Cookies Revisited

Purple Christmas cookies revisited.  Why you might ask? So many great things have happened since we released this book. But probably my very favorite must be the delicious cookies developed by one enthused reader.  And since this weekend we have a great special going on it is a perfect time to check our book out.  So get your FREE Kindle version of the book this weekend, and see what activities you dream up to go with it.  We would love to hear from you! Got Purple Santa? #BlackFridayin3words #GotPurpleSanta  Meanwhile, enjoy this one again!

Baking in the classroom: Santa's Just Not Right Christmas Cookies

Purple Christmas Cookies Revisited – to go along with our book!

Santa’s Just Not Right Christmas Cookies??  Ever since we began dreaming of all the things that would go wrong with Christmas if Santa’s suit turned purple, the ideas have snowballed.  You can see many of them of course in the book.  Like upside down snowmen, and jets instead of sleighs.  We imagined tea and honey instead of milk and cookies.  But the things that we have imagined are probably only just beginning.  We challenge you to come up with your own zany, wacky inspirations of how Christmas might be different.  We challenge you to do them at home. We challenge you to use them in the classroom.  And this week, one very inspired reviewer has done just that! Check out Santa’s Just Not Right Christmas cookies!  They have made it to our recent December Bucket List for sure!  And they easily can be used in the classroom for an art project and a fun Santa’s Night Before Christmas Cookie party!  We just want to run to the kitchen and get baking.  We’ve posted enough to get you started, but please for full recipe (and many other fun recipes!) please see A Mama, Baby, and Sharpei!  If you need a copy of the book to go along with these treats, of course you can get more information about the hardback, or kindle on the Book page here.

INGREDIENTS:                                                                           yields 2-3 dozen cookies

  • 1 C Unsalted Butter, Softened
  • 1.5 C Powdered Sugar
  • 1 Egg
  • 1.5 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • 2.5 C All-Purpose Flour, plus more for dusting
  • Purple Food Coloring (I recommend gel coloring)

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and powdered sugar together with the paddle attachment on low-speed so that the sugar doesn’t fly up in a cloud. Once the sugar has been mostly incorporated into the butter, turn up the speed, beating the butter mixture until it is creamy and thoroughly incorporated.

Then add the egg to the butter mixture, beating until just incorporated. Add the vanilla extract and baking soda and once that is thoroughly mixed in, add the flour, one cup at a time until it is all mixed in. This creates a batter-like dough that will be very soft. Dab in the purple food coloring and mix at a low-speed, or by hand, until the entire dough is colored to your liking. Remember that the color will brighten as it rests in the fridge.

Transfer the dough to a floured work surface and knead it into a soft ball. If the dough is sticky, add additional flour while kneading. Transfer the dough to a wax-paper lined plate, then press another piece of wax paper on top of the dough, flattening it into a round disc, the size of the plate between the two sheets of wax paper. Tuck the extra ends of the wax paper under the dough disc to keep the dough from drying out. Place the dough in the fridge for at least three hours or overnight to firm-up.

Once it has rested in the refrigerator, tear off a one-third section of the dough and place it on a floured work surface and keep the rest of the dough in the fridge. Prepare two baking sheets by lining them with parchment paper and pre-heat the oven to 350F.

Using a rolling pin, roll the dough out to 1/2 inch thickness, making sure to flip the dough to keep it floured or it will stick to the work surface. *I prefer a 1/2 inch thickness in a roll-out cookie because they will remain soft and fluffy, even after decorating. If you prefer a more crisp cookie, I recommend rolling the dough to a 3/8 inch thickness*

Use a cookie cutter to cut the desired shapes. Place the cut cookies on the baking sheet, two inches apart as you prepare them. Once the baking sheet is full, place it in the oven and bake the cookies for 8-10 minutes until the edges just start to darken. If you try to lift the cookies and they are still very soft, give them another minute or two. Transfer the cookies to a wire cooling rack until they are cooled to room temperature. Repeat with the dough in the fridge until you have made all of the cookies you desire.

Now on to decorating!! Use your imagination! We made a batch of Purple Royal Icing to pipe the details onto our cookies and to help our sprinkles and candy buttons and ornaments to stick to the cookies. But feel free to mix up any color you like and add any decorations you desire! I’ve included the recipe for the Royal Icing below which makes more than enough icing for 3 dozen cookies, we made just a half batch and still had plenty more icing leftover.  For full recipe for Santa’s Just Not Right Christmas Cookies again see …..A Mama, Baby, and Sharpei!Santa's Just Not Right Christmas cookies at home or in the classroom!


Got Purple Santa? #BlackFridayin3Words

Got Purple Santa? Free on Kindle. Wow! I can hardly believe it is already the holiday season again. But maybe I can since they have been promoting Black Friday for the entire month of November.Fun holiday book! Got Purple Santa?

In any case this weekend, we have a very special promotion for our purple Santa lovers, or wanna be purple Santa lovers.  So mark your calendars. This weekend, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Santa’s (Zany, Wacky, Just Not Right!) Night Before Christmas is available for FREE on the Amazon Kindle.

Preview free on Kindle before buying the hardback version. November 27-29, 2015

Preview free on Kindle before buying the hardback version. November 27-29, 2015

So if you’ve been curious now is your chance to try before you buy. You get to keep the kindle version. But then if you love it you can order the hard copy to add to your Christmas book collection, or give it to special kids (big and little) in your life, or even stash away as a white elephant gift. So enjoy, and pass the word! We want to see how many people “Got Purple Santa?” this year during the #BlackFridayin3words. #GotPurpleSanta?  Get yours now!

Got Purple Santa? FREE Kindle version Today and Tomorrow! Preview for your holiday shopping list.

Got Purple Santa? It’s FREE on Kindle now. It is that time of year again.  And we are celebrating the kickoff of holiday shopping by offering a chance for you to preview Santa’s (Zany, Wacky, Just Not Right!) Night Before Christmas for free on Amazon Kindle today and tomorrow.  So you can get it and see it and then decide how many  you need hardback versions to add to your shopping list and personal book collection. Got Purple Santa? Free on Kindle We have lots of ideas for the classroom or even at home.  Like who wouldn’t want to bake purple cookies this Christmas?? It makes a great White Elephant gift for those parties you have to attend as well. So check it out now. And right now it is selling for less here than on Amazon and includes FREE shipping.  Happy Shopping.  Happy Reading. And Happy Holidays!

Author Interview: DK Simoneau from the writechris

As appeared:

Helping Children Cope Through Divorce: Author Interview with DK Simoneau

What inspired you to write your debut children’s book?
My first book, We’re Having A Tuesday was a direct result of the issues I was facing at home with my two kids after a divorce. I went looking for a picture book that might help, and at the time was unsuccessful finding one. So I decided to write my own.

When did you actually start writing the first book?
Oh, it was many years ago. My kids are now in college. It probably took a day to write the first draft, as it was completely inspired from wanting to help them.

Who encouraged you along the way to complete your writing and publish it?
I have had many people who encouraged me. My Dad was a huge supporter, and always was someone who said I could do anything I wanted.

Since your book is about children of divorce, how much of it is autobiographical?
It is very much based on events in our real life.

What are your children’s reaction to the book?
They enjoyed being able to say that their Mom was an author. They didn’t enjoy having people think they were the characters in the book!

What type of research did you do in writing this book?
It is a fictional children’s story. I didn’t do any research to write it, but have since done quite a bit of research in marketing it.

Were there any specific details in that research that surprised you?
Not really…..just the staggering numbers of how many kids are in these kinds of situations.

What made you decide to go the indie route in publishing your books? Did you send your manuscripts out to other publishers or agents prior to that?
The book had been sent out (among others) and it was always receiving incredible feedback and hints that it would be published. But then it always sat. It would sit for months with nothing happening, and eventually a pass for one reason or another. Sometimes it was the timing of someone moving on to another job, or they decided to go with a different kind of book etc.

I started attending a local publishing group and learned about all of the benefits of doing myself. I decided nobody would love this story to its fruition as much as I, so off I went.

How did you go about finding an illustrator?
At the time I was a member of SCBWI, and they had a very beginning of a portfolio type discussion board. I started looking through. I found one illustrator who I was particularly interested in, but their email didn’t work. So I posted a comment directly on their board. Interestingly I never did hear back from (nor do I remember their name!) them. But, another illustrator contacted me and asked if I would be interested in looking at his work. I did. I fell in love. I asked him to do a sketch based on just the first few words of the story. He drew exactly what I had in my head without me telling him what that was, so I figured we were going to work well together, and I hired Brad Cornelius right then.

Did you input your ideas of what you wanted in the illustrations or was it more of a brainstorming session between the two of you?
I let him draw what came to his mind when he read the story. Then if I had some things that I really wanted added, like hearts put on the “very special backpack” I would ask him. But mostly it was his own inspired ideas from reading the story. We worked similarly on Santa’s (Zany, Wacky, Just Not Right!) Night Before Christmas. It has been an easy delightful experience to work with Brad.

I see you have won an award for your Santa book. With so many options to enter books for award programs, how do you make a decision as to which ones to enter?
Well we entered just a few, and so far of those that have been announced, we’ve won in each one. (Some hopefully still to come!). I purposely chose ones that I thought would bring attention to the book from an Independent Press standpoint.

So many people give independent presses such a bad rap. And…..there often times is good reason. But, that doesn’t mean books from independent publishers can’t be of high quality, and I think ours have been. We also considered what kind of publicity might come of winning such awards, as of course in the end we really just want people to find our books and enjoy or benefit from them.

What has frustrated you the most in the process of putting together your books?
The most frustrating piece is the doors that are slammed because you are a small independent press. Some won’t even consider looking at it. And I know that there are some bad ones. But when you are winning awards and going on national television I would think that there might be some consideration for that.

What has pleasantly surprised you in the process?
The most pleasant surprise is the wonderful feedback I get. I have had so many people tell me how much We’re Having A Tuesday has helped their kids etc. And for Santa’s (Zany, Wacky, Just Not Right!)Night Before Christmas we have had some very inspired reviewers. We had one really fun video posted about it, and one fan who created her own recipe for cookies to go along with it.

I love how contagious the fun has been for people sharing that book. I can’t wait to hear more ideas as this book catches on and is shared in classrooms and libraries and so on. I love silliness, and I love how that book inspires it.

What are some of the promotions that you’ve done for your books that have been the most successful?
I have loved using Pinterest to get people thinking about how this book could be used in the classroom or in starting traditions or in White elephant parties.

What advice would you give someone who wants to write children’s stories?
Just write what you love……..and don’t think because you write it and proofread it that you don’t need an editor. Everyone can use an editor!

What is the best writing advice you’ve been given?
Two things, that are similar. One was from my Dad who said to write about what you know. The other was from a publishing coach who recommended that if I decided to self-publish to choose the book that I cared the most about. That way I wouldn’t give up, and I would see it through all of the ups and downs of learning. We’re Having A Tuesday met both of those words of wisdom for me.

What do you wish you had learned sooner in the publishing process?
Marketing is a never ending job, and that once you have your book in hand, the hard part is only just beginning. That just because you get great publicity doesn’t mean people will buy your book. Being on national television gave me some credibility but did not translate to sales.

How much time daily do you have for writing?
I write when I’m inspired. I don’t ever write if I’m not inspired. So there might be a day when I write all day and night, and their might be 4 months when I don’t write a thing.

What message would you like parents and children to take away from your books?
I think that the messages are both very different. We’re Having A Tuesday has a message that no matter what a split family life is like that both parents always love their kids and that they can recall that whenever they like.

For Santa’s (Zany, Wacky, Just Not Right!) Night Before Christmas, I would like for parents and kids to stop the business of life and enjoy their time together by reading out loud and just have fun. We work hard, and we need to connect, play and enjoy time with our families.

What plans do you have for other books?
Oh I have dozens of ideas…….will have to see where I am inspired to go next. I’ve really enjoyed turning Santa into an app for kids, and I have some ideas for those that I would like to further explore. But I also have some other non-fiction types of things I would like to get moving on as well.

Thanks for taking the time to tell me about your writing experiences. If You would like to learn more about these books, here’s some options.

We’re Having a
Santa’s (Zany, Wacky, Just Not Right!) Night Before
the Santa app:…

American Library Association Youth Media Awards Caldecott and so on! #ALAYMA

American Library Association Youth Media Awards! Today was a big day in the children’s book world.  It was like the Oscars for youth books.  There was all kinds of excitement as the American Library Association presented the 2015 Youth Media Awards.  If you love children’s books, I encourage you to check out all of the  I couldn’t help but watch, as Santa’s (Zany, Wacky, Just Not Right!) Night Before Christmas had been sent in.  And well, though it tends to be only large publishers recognized, one just never knows. American Library Association Youth Media AwardsThere are a slew of books if you are interested– in just about anything.  There seemed to be an assortment of winners, ranging from diversity topics, homosexuality, and even just for fun books.  As an author of a children’s book (We’re Having A Tuesday) that helps kids with seeing their own situations and being able to relate, I was happy to see the myriad of topics addressed.  There is nothing quite like having a book help a child feel like they are not the only one who feels that way. It is even better if they are books that will work as read aloud books, as then they can go one step further, in which they can foster discussion.  I really love books that do that.  I will look forward to reading and writing about some of them here in the coming weeks.  Also, as an author of a book that is strictly for the pure pleasure of reading for fun, laughing and using our imagination Santa’s (Zany, Wacky, Just Not Right!) Night Before Christmas, I was very thrilled to see that the winner of the Caldecott Award this year appears to be just that kind of book.  I have not seen it myself yet, but The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend, has moved up high on my priority list of books to read.  I love nothing more than a book that just carries kids away.  I can’t wait to read it!  There were all kinds of awards, and all kinds of books.  So I recommend if you have any interest in reading out loud to kids that you check them out. They cover picture books, chapter books, and even audio books.  You are bound to find something that your little listener will enjoy hearing.  And if you are reading out loud, maybe a family read aloud, or to an older group of kids in middle school or even high school, be sure to check out the Alex Awards, as they are books that are recognized as adult books that a teen audience is likely to enjoy.  Just check them all out on the list!  If you are like me, your library hold list, or your books to buy list might grow by leaps and bounds after reviewing it.  And if you want even a little bit more excitement, watch the replay video of the announcements here.  To me, there isn’t much more exciting than hearing a room full of people cheer about BOOKS for KIDS! I love the American Library Association Youth Media Awards.  Makes me want to buy up a pile of books!

And because I just cannot close without at least one book recommendation, today I will focus on the 2014 Newberry Medal winner, Flora & Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures by Kate DiCamillo, illustrated by K.G. Campbell. This is a darling chapter book complete with wonderful illustrations.  To me it is a great bridge for kids that are getting to big for picture books, but might not be quite ready for books without any pictures at all.  It is a whirlwind tale about a girl, a squirrel, and superhero type adventures.  It made me think of crazy old cartoons where the characters were getting into slapstick humorous trouble.  I loved the use of vocabulary in this book.  I think most kids would be pretty anxious to see what happens next.  The only thing I didn’t like about it was the part in which they turn the Mom into a lunatic stressball smoker, complete with an illustration.  Couldn’t she have been crazily chomping ice, or eating lollipops, or winding ringlets in her hair?  I just hate anything in kids books that makes it seem like smoking is ever ok.  Sometimes I have to overlook it when a book was written long before we knew better, but this one is not that case.  In any case, don’t let that detract you from an enjoyable ride.  And maybe use the smoking as a talking point with your kids.  I liked it!

Move over Ramona- Clementine will share your heart!

I just finished reading Clementine by Sara Pennypacker. I loved this book. This book came along after my own kids were past this stage of reading unfortunately, as I’m sure they would have loved it. I do like how thoughtful this strong little character is. She is delightful! If you loved Beverly Cleary and Ramona the pest, then you will very likely love Clementine. I do miss Ramona and her wonderful strong personality. Clementine is a nice updated refreshment of her. I may have to investigate and look for more in the series. Great job to Ms. Pennypacker! I think it would make a great read aloud in a classroom, or a chapter at a time at night in bed. And I love read alouds! So get it, and read it out loud to some kids today!